Grouchy Thoughts on Healthcare

1. The US does not have a free-market healthcare system. Hasn’t in a long time. The need for healthcare reform is obvious, but please, stop talking about the “failure of the free market”. All you’re doing is pissing off people you could be working with to make things better.

2. Health is not a human right. Until the singularity occurs and we all become gods in our own right, health is not something that can be guaranteed by human law.

3. “Healthcare as a right” is not a useful framing of the issue. I’m not even going to get into positive and negative rights; if you haven’t grasped the concept yet this isn’t going to suddenly clarify it for you. The pertinent point is that whether or not you view it as a basic human right, modern healthcare is fucking expensive and no amount of reform is going to substantially reduce its cost. What we are really talking about is whether any given US citizen has access to treatments which may somewhat extend his or her life at a price which would would probably save several dozen sub-Saharan Africans from starvation. Making a treatment a “right” doesn’t make it any more accessible, and tends to make you look just a bit sanctimonious. Let us just say that having universal access to such treatments would be Awfully Nice, and leave it at that.

4. The current healthcare debate isn’t about the Corporations vs. The People. If you really think that Healthcare reform is going to stick it to the insurance companies, Big Pharma, etc., I envy your optimism. Even if Obama abolished private healthcare and instituted a totally socialist system, the executives currently working for insurance companies would just find new jobs at the Bureau of Health. They may bitch and moan, but at the end of the day, these people are connected. They’ll come out on top regardless.

5. …which means that the current debate is really about which political operatives will benefit most from the inevitable kickbacks when things get rearranged into a different-but-similarly-corporate-friendly configuration. If you want to understand town-hall disruptions etc., look no further than the dominant parties. It’s all about who gets the credit and who gets the blame.

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One Comment

  1. I’m pretty much in agreement with you down the line. But as this clarity doesn’t fit into most people’s template it will be discarded and their own placard waving will continue. At this point histrionics will be the rule of the day and I don’t see honest debate occurring at large because I haven’t seen it happening at the individual level. Or I see genuine fear at the concept of real reform — it terrifies people — and fear makes people irrational and angry. Real honest reform means exactly that: Reform — a complete change in the status quo instead of a relabeling and shifting of the money train.

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